Hours before legendary gay-rights activist Ray Hill died on November 24, Houston’s Pride Wall—at Jenni’s Noodle House in the Heights—was destroyed by vandals in an apparent anti-LGBTQ hate crime.
Then, just days later, a veritable parade of bigots came before the Houston City Council, equating LGBTQ people with pedophiles as they spoke in opposition to the public library’s Drag Queen Storytime program.
It seems difficult to ignore the fact that Hill’s death coincided with this fresh outburst of anti-LGBTQ hatred in the city he loved so dearly. But it also seems clear how Hill would have wanted us to respond. Indeed, the best way to honor his legacy is to continue to fight—harder than ever—for equality.
As Hill put it in an interview with OutSmart in August, “The struggle continues. You don’t have to do it all, nor do you have to do as much as I’ve done. But do what you can.”
We hope you are inspired by writer Kim Hogstrom’s tribute to Hill in this month’s cover story. R.I.P., Ray.
Elsewhere in this December issue, writer Andrew Edmonson profiles another Houston pioneer, Ann Robison, an LGBTQ ally who is marking 30 years at the helm of the Montrose Center. And, speaking of legends, OutSmart’s Dalton DeHart has his annual highlights of the year’s events in photos.
That’s right—2018 is nearly over, which means it’s also time for writer Ryan Leach’s 10 Things to Leave Behind. Naturally, Leach’s 2018 list includes several anti-LGBTQ Republicans who were defeated in the midterm elections. On the flip side, writers Brandon Wolf and Marene Gustin bring us up to speed on some of the victorious candidates, including five new openly LGBTQ Harris County judges, and the state’s first out appeals-court judge.
On the arts front, Gustin talks to Antonius-Tin Bui, a nonbinary, genderqueer, Vietnamese-American who’s now in residence at the Houston Contemporary Craft Center. And writer Don Maines profiles Rameen Chaharbaghi, an Iranian-American baritone who’ll be part of the Houston Chamber Choir’s annual holiday concert.
Finally, if you need some additional seasonal cheer, don’t miss Brandon Wolf’s piece on local “Mama Bear” Nancy Sims. Thanks to Sims’ benevolence, three struggling transgender youth will finally be accepted for who they are this Christmas.
Happy New Year!